Saturday, 12 Jun 2021

Full steam ahead for Flying Scotsman after 14 months of lockdown

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There were cheers of delight as the vintage steam loco pulled away from London’s Victoria Station for a nostalgic trip around the rolling Surrey Hills with 250 passengers on board. And those lucky to have a seat celebrated their new-found freedom from Covid rules with a nostalgic full-steam-ahead trip back in time.

“She’s lost none of her power and grace,” said Gerry Brigden, 88, on board with wife Ann, 85, and son Robert, 47. “I was a fireman and then a train driver and I actually drove her,” recalled Gerry as he caught up with current driver Bob Baines, 71.

“I remember taking her from Olympia to Sheffield in 1958 and all the way back and she’s as good as she was then.”

In First Class, Lynn Turner sipped wine as she toasted a successful birthday surprise for husband Peter, 75. They live in Long Melford, Suffolk, and Lynn lured him to London with the promise of a surprise trip, which he expected to be a Thames river cruise.

“When we came to Victoria Station I began to get excited but when I saw the Flying Scotsman come in to platform 2 it was just brilliant,’’ beamed Peter. “I couldn’t wait to step on board. For us it certainly is a dream trip. What a way to come out of lockdown.”

In the wood-panelled Pullman carriages, many celebrated with a glass of bubbly and canapes, waving to steam train enthusiasts along the route.

David Buck, chairman of rail trip organiser Steam Dreams, said: “We are delighted to get back out on the tracks again bringing the magic of steam train travel to all who have missed it.”

The Flying Scotsman – number 1472 – was built in 1923 at Doncaster for £7,944. She was the pride of London and North Eastern Railways (LNER).

Yesterday she helped to bring back a feeling of joy and sense that we are back on track to normality.

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